Deadlift / Vegetable Medley

My sleep has been better the past two nights. But. Damn that was hard. I think it’s just me. This was the first WOD I’ve done in a while where I suspect that the fasted state of my morning training really was not working out for me. But it may also just have been that this was the third metcon of the week, and the sixth skill or strength session of the week. Bottom line was: I nearly gassed out; I was super slow. So, I either need more recovery days, more sleep, or a bit of food in the morning. (Or maybe, AM BCAAs, ala the leangains method — yes I know that’s not “Paleo”). Or all of the above. Or I just need to live with being the slow guy every once in a while. To be honest… I think that’s maybe the awesome choice.


400 meter run; crawling around; mobility work. Pull-ups (sloppy, but 10). Overhead squats (10). Knees to elbows (10). Forgot my push-ups. Paid for that later.

Strength: Deadlift

Dynamic Effort at 60% of 5 RM (i.e. of 290 lbs, therefore, 175 lbs). 175 lbs / 2 x 12 @ 30s

Volume: 4,200 lbs

This felt great.

WOD: Vegetable Medley

Where does Shanna come up with these things? CFA WOD today was fracking crazy. (No offense, Shanna, I mean this in the best possible sense of the term.)

200m Uneven farmer’s walk (Rx’d w/53/35 & 35/26)
30 push-ups
100ft unevenly weighted walking lunge (same wght as FC)
20 burpees
15 toes-to-bar
20 burpees
100ft unevenly weighted walking lunge
30 push-ups
200m uneven farmer’s carry
For time.

Result: 45 & 35 lbs / 19:43

I was last. And most beat down. Hours later, I love it. Enough said. What else can I say, after all?

Snatch / OHS & Box Jump

I need sleep. Just a few moments to note today’s workout.


 400 meter run; crawling; dislocates, mobility; push-ups (12); overhead squats (10); knees to elbows (7); pull-ups, kipping (10). PVC Warm-Up for Snatches (modified Burgener warm-up).

Strength: Snatch (Full Squat)

5 rep “heavy” sets. I remain relatively “untrained” in this difficult movement, especially performed in sets of 5, so my work sets sound light, or easy. I don’t see them that way though. Very tough.

Result: 5 x 45 / 5 x 65 / 2 x 85 / 3 x 85 / 5 x 70 (PR).

Met-Con: OHS and Box Jumps

5 rounds for time: 7 OHS (@ 90% of snatch weight), 12 Box Jumps (24″).

Result: 65 lbs / 7:45

Two of my “goat” exercises in the same WOD. I am slow on the box-jumps… and it wasn’t that long ago that I wasn’t able to perform them at all, due to pain in my lower leg! It’s like I’m learning to do them for the first time again. I did them slowly, but methodically, trying to land on top of the box with full feet, land soft, open the hips fully, and jump off carefully and in control. The OHS began weak and gained in strength. I tried to keep focused on keeping my knees apart and stable, my shoulders shrugged and arms locked out, and chest upright.

I am so tired.

Shanna took this photo of me…

Push Press / Back Squat

Strength only on Tuesdays… ahh… Just like my “old days” (i.e. Spring 2010). Felt good. Even on only 4.5 hours of crappy sleep.


400 meter run. Crawling around, etc. Mobility work. Overhead squats (10), Pull-Ups (10), Push-Ups (a quantity above 10), Knees to Elbows (10).

Push-Press 5 RM Attempt

Following a recent PR, I attempted a +5 lb new PR. Did not get it.

5 x 75 / 3 x 105 / 1 x 30 / 4 x 145, fail 2x on 5.

I was SO close. Oh well. “An opportunity for improvement.” Time for strength sets.

Back Squats 2 x 12

My last 5RM PR was shaky, at best, at 175 lbs. Today, 60% of that 2 x 12 @ 60s.

105# x 2 x 12 @ 60s intervals (11 min; 24 reps; 2,520 lbs volume).

Lots to think about and work on here. I was concentrating on knees, and hip drive. Shanna said: keep your back up; she also said: do a 2-3 count going down and drive up in 1.

Labor Day Follies (Tabata C & J / Obstacle Course)

Labor day, a work day for me. I hit the 6:00 am workout at CFA. I am a bit sick, and had not quite enough sleep. So, I’m on thin ice, healthwise. But what the hell. I made it through and sleep approaches soon.


A run, some crawling around, stretching and mobility work. Push-ups (10), Pull-ups (10), Knees to Elbows (10), Overhead Squats (15).

Strength: Tabata Clean and Jerk

8 rounds: 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest. 105 lbs ; 6, 5, 4, 3, 3, 3, 3, 4 = 31 / 3. Not bad. Definitely hard work!

Obstacle Course

Fun, 15 minutes, intense, partner course. I worked with Maggie. We traded 400 meter runs and working the obstacles. 8+ rounds.

Mid-Cycle Thoughts

According to my current training and life-stress management plan, I will keep a 7 week training cycle (6 weeks on and 1 week off). Today I begin the 4th week of my current cycle, which started on Aug. 15th, so here, at mid-point, it seems like a good time to examine the “rules” I have laid out for myself, check my behavior against them, and make sure everything is fitting together, adjusting what I must (rules or behavior), so that I can keep as much of my behavior as possible in the “intentional” and “conscious” category.

  1. every day create list of seven to-do items for next day
  2. every day, go to bed a full eight hours before waking
  3. M-F, no non work- or family-related activities from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm
  4. no purposeless TV or videos
  5. at least one half day a week, taking time to play with Lena, J.Z., Yael, and friends
  6. seven days a week, eating right and training well
  1. Train regularly (3-5x week) at CFA, with occasional endurance runs and bikes
  2. Follow a 7 week training cycle, with six weeks “on” and one week “off;” the first week of the first cycle will begin on Aug. 15th
  3. Do 30 days of “fascist-strict” Paleo, beginning Sunday, Aug. 22nd
  4. Before and after eat on a 90% Paleo, 95% clean, Zone-inspired plan, with a “never on a school night” alcohol plan
  5. Fast one full 26 hour period 1x per calendar month (4:00 pm to 6:00 pm); first fast will be Aug. 18-19th
  6. No eating between 8:00 pm to 8:00 am
  7. [rule rescinded until further notice]
  8. Record weight and body composition data weekly
  9. Drop daily food journal, but record training and dietary reflections in this blog; unless weight increases while body composition deteriorates, or other problems arise.

On Making and Following “Rules”

It is my general philosophy of life that the “rules” we set out to guide our behavior are only useful when they are in fact descriptive of what we then choose to do. Rules don’t work, and are in fact destructive if they are actually just “wishes” or “aspirations” that we cannot really abide by.

Self-sabotage takes many forms, including the seemingly benign form of the apparent desire to improve oneself. If you break your own rules that you have set out for yourself, then you are not simply being foolish. I think you might be harming yourself psychologically, because such unfollowed “rules” can become tools of self-abuse. Why would you choose to live in an environment in which negative self-feedback (i.e. “I am so lame, I can’t do anything right, I hate myself, etc.”) can thrive?

There are unconscious, self-destructive impulses in us; they are an unacknowledged part of everyone. Freudian psychology views these impulses as our animal aggressive instinct turned inward; especially when aggressive impulses are unacknowledged, unexpressed, or socially repressed, they end up being directed at ourselves and our loved ones, in self-destructive behavior. You need safe, socially acceptable outlets for your aggression (sport, in particular, works very well for that) and you also need to be aware of the danger of unleashing it on yourself.

So, what this means is, if you make rules for yourself, you better get serious about thinking them through. What are your rules for? Do you really need them? If not, you should be revising them, or discarding them altogether. In other words… if you don’t follow your own rules, you obviously don’t want to follow them. In that case you would do better not to consider the “rules” as “rules.” Do something else instead!

Acting According to Plan

When I examine the list of rules I have recently set out for myself (on Aug. 4th), I see that am doing well, and keeping to the spirit of most of them. But not all. Overall I am living well. I keep some of the rules religiously, and the others I am either not keeping, for various reasons, or following in attenuated ways. In light of that fact, as of today I am prepared to officially discard or revise the rules in light of how I’ve actually been behaving.

In terms of my Stress Reduction Plan, I note that my rule #1 has been too difficult to maintain. It was useful in the days leading up to a new school year, before my schedule became more established and rigid. But now, I can’t find the time, and I can’t find the discipline to make my list of seven every day, and do it the next day. Much as I’d like to use this useful too, it isn’t fitting in my life right now. I am going to let it go. I remain a dedicated list maker (I think that is fairly obvious) and so you know that lists retain their place in my personal economy. But I can’t do the daily lists of seven. They are off the plan. But I want to revise the rule, not just discard it.

The spirit of the y daily list of seven remains in place. What was that spirit? It was: do the tasks you must, so that your stress level will be lower because you keep on top of the things that must be done. I want to harness that good vibe, that stress reduction technique, which is to know what you have to do and to tackle projects one at a time. But it can’t be a “rule” to keep track of your duties and to execute them faithfully. That’s general enough and impossible enough that it basically amounts to a self-directed bullet to the head; i.e. it’s a recipe for full-blown self-destruction, because who can do it fully, every day, and claim to be keeping to the plan? Anyone who can doesn’t need it to be a “rule.”

One way I could revise the list rule would be to say, I’ll make a list of seven ONCE A WEEK (on Sundays), that will help me think through seven things that I can fit into my schedule that need to be done, but which aren’t a part of the daily grind. So I think that will be the new rule.

Rules #2 and #3 remain in force. I am either keeping these rules or really trying to. They are worth saving, and their effects are definitely beneficial. I’ve been more rested, generally more healthy, and happier, because I have tried to get more sleep (even if I haven’t always succeeded). I’ve been less on facebook, less on the blogs, and much less wasteful and distracted with my time.

Rule #4 has been harder to follow. Although I haven’t spent nearly as much time in front of the TV so far this semester, I also was following this rule more closely 3 weeks ago than I am right now. When I do avoid purposeless video consumption, I read more (especially, works in my field, i.e. Biblical studies, History, and Religion), and I sleep better. The problem with the rule is defining “purposeless;” after all, one of the purposes I pursue when I sit down in front of the TV has always been de-stressing and relaxation. And I have needed a bit more of that in the past week or so. But then, what ends up happening is that extra TV translates, often enough, into a delayed bedtime, and violation of rule #2. So I need to keep this rule in place, and simply remind myself of the benefits of restricting TV watching; any time I find myself mindlessly searching for something to watch on TV it’s time to stop (and probably, to go to bed). I will revise the rule by adding the phrase: “…read or go to bed instead.”

Rule #5 is beautiful in theory but impossible in practice. Part of the problem is that weekends end up being the only time to do housework, yardwork, and otherwise maintain our lives. Part of the problem is that Yael is the one who sets the weekend social agenda, so that afternoons that might include a fun family outing are already programmed… a trip to the pool, or to a toddler birthday party, or a visit to friends. BUT THIS IS FINE! In fact, in spirit and letter, I’ve been keeping this rule. More than half a day every week is just me and J.Z. and Lena and Yael and family and friends. It’s beyond my control; it’s just not up to me! So, the rule is un-needed, unless it should be revised as follows: “Allow yourself to focus on and enjoy your play time with family and friends,” i.e. a reminder that this time is the best time of the day and the best time of the week.

Rule #6 has been no problem of late.

In terms of my Training and Nutrition Plan, rules #1, #2, and #3 are in FULL effect with zero deviation. Rule #4 will kick in at the end of this month, and I am sure it will be fine. At that time I can delete rule #3.

I haven’t followed rule #5. In truth, I don’t want to fast. I have to be honest about this. One reason, one rationale for why I haven’t even tried following my own rule about fasting 1x per month is that I’ve been following rule #6 so well. I do “fast” half of the day, every day. It’s a new discipline for me, and I feel great benefits accruing from it. I will probably, in the near term, try some extended period of true intermittent fasting, leangains style, but for now, I’ll delete rule #5 completely, and keep rule #6. I had already deleted Rule #7 (eating BCAAs before training… it’s not compatible with strict Paleo eating); now I’ll officially delete it. I have been following rule #8. I have been following rule #9.

So, overall, as this review shows, I’ve been doing well, and living according to a “plan.” But a little bit of tweaking will help me stay even closer to plan, and to interpret my behavior in the best possible light. I think I am making good progress, although I have much left to accomplish, and much growth left to do.

  1. weekly: create a list of seven tasks to be completed this week
  2. every day, go to bed a full eight hours before waking
  3. M-F, no non work- or family-related activities from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm
  4. no purposeless TV or videos: read or go to bed instead
  5. Allow yourself to focus on and enjoy your play time with family and friends
  6. seven days a week, eating right and training well
  1. Train regularly (3-5x week) at CFA, with occasional endurance runs and bikes
  2. Follow a 7 week training cycle, with six weeks “on” and one week “off;” the first week of the first cycle will begin on Aug. 15th
  3. Do 30 days of “fascist-strict” Paleo, beginning Sunday, Aug. 22nd
  4. Before and after eat on a 90% Paleo, 95% clean, Zone-inspired plan, with a “never on a school night” alcohol plan
  5. No eating between 8:00 pm to 8:00 am
  6. Record weight and body composition data weekly
  7. Drop daily food journal, but record training and dietary reflections in this blog; unless weight increases while body composition deteriorates, or other problems arise.

Weight and Comp

Sunday, Sep. 5th. My goals are: I am trying to maintain my weight at about 180 lbs, while steadily whittling away fat and getting new PRs in the gym. I am finding that I have to eat a LOT of food to stay at this weight. I am probably compromising “fat loss” but I don’t give a rip.

Weight Measurements Sunday Sep. 5th
Weight Observed Body Fat % Implied Fat Mass Implied Lean Mass Comment
180 lbs 15% 27 lbs 153 lbs I felt good not to observe a 16% this week.
180 lbs 14% 25 lbs 155 lbs This weigh-in implies a loss of fat over the past two weeks.

About My Diet

Presently, I am starting week III of “100% Paleo.” What is that? Basically: absolutely no alcohol, grains, legumes, sugars, and processed or over packaged foods; ad libitum green veggies colored veggies — lots of meat and veggies — with a little fruit and some nuts; 3 meals a day, very little snacking, 12 hours of fasting each night; fasted AM training; few to no supplements. I am loving it.

And Your Health?

I do have a bit of a rhinovirus at the moment. Cause, immediately? My 3 year old. And possibly complicated by? Too much stress, too much training, not enough sleep. I am watching it.

Hands Hands Feet

Briefly: today’s skill work was handstands (mine seem to be getting better) followed by a curious, hard to describe WOD (see the description on the CFA webpage) combining box jumps and thrusters in a slow ascending and quick descending ladder.

On the WOD I used a 20″ box, 85 lbs on the bar (~70% of 5 RM thruster), completed 5 rounds + 14 reps in the first 6 minutes, rested the 7th minute, and then finished out the WOD by 11:17 (i.e. another 4:17 going down the ladder). Total Box Jumps: 72; total Thrusters: 32.

Strength / Therapy

One of the benefits of working out at CrossFit Asheville is that we have as one of our coaches Dr. Corey Duvall of the Stay Active Clinic; Corey is a skilled manual therapist and he does his work right in the affiliate box so everybody gets to watch him work (what better advertisement of his services could he ask for? It’s an impressive symbiosis).

Myself, at present Corey working on me weekly, providing therapy for several issues I have in my legs (related to the old break of my right Tib-Fib and to my patellar tendonitis on my left knee). I haven’t been making notes, in my training log, of the times hat I have seen Corey, and I don’t plan to start doing so regularly now. Cnsider these sessions as my secret weapon.

However, I will be recording the (therapeutic) strength sessions that Corey has me do, since they are relevant to my overall training load and will, I trust, continue to help me improve my lifting and performance in general, as well as helping to address issues of pain, etc.

Front Squat

Warm-Up: some 40 meter sprints, jog/walk recovery. Stretching/Dislocates. Front squats, push-ups.

Front Squat: 10x 45# then…

60% of 5 RM, 2×12 @ 60s intervals: 90 lbs; 24 reps in 11 minutes.

What I like about this approach is that it essentially links strength with mobility and pain control. This makes intuitive sense to me and — unless something more plausible comes along — this is the approach I will continue to choose to embrace.

Happy Birthday Aidan!

Quickly, Today’s WOD: Aidan’s 40th birthday, and the lady worked HARD on this one. Congrats Aidan! We started with single support deadlifts (for me: new 30 lb PR: 5 x 45 / 5 x 75 / 5 x 95 / 5 x 115 — PR) and then did 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 of Sumo Deadlift High-Pulls and Push Jerks (Result: 12:08, Rx’d at 75 lbs). This was also the mainsite WOD on Sat., Aug. 28th. Tough WOD. Fun times. I LOVE CrossFit.

Generally, My Health, Nutrition, Etc.: My sleep has not been good, probably for two reasons: stress is unavoidable in my life right now, and I drink too much coffee. Other than that, everything, I mean everything, feels like it’s on track. For that reason only, I should be trumpeting the fact that I’m “100% paleo” right now (as if such a thing really existed). 3 meals a day, none of this constant grazing and snacking bullshit. Full 11-12 hour fasts every day (running 7:30-8:30 pm to 7:30-8:30 am every day). Limited fruit. Plenty of protein and fat. Veggies at every meal. Absolutely no sugar, dairy, grains, legumes, or alcohol. Eating almost exclusively whole foods, with very little factory processing and packaging (seriously; exceptions are some fat sources, esp. Fish Oil, Coconut Butter, Olive Oil, Smoked Salmon, and Nitrate Free Bacon). It feels good. Going on about 10 days now (since Aug. 22nd).